Hamilton, wife of the Reverend Moses Sanders,
and Mary, wife of Jacob Saunders
The wife of the Reverend Moses Sanders(1745-1817) had the first name of "Mary." This is known from land records during her lifetime and from the ordinances done for the LDS church in the 1870s by her grandson Moses Martin Sanders (1803-1878). The tombstone erected on her gravesite about 1904 by her great grandson, Christopher Columbus Sanders, has her given name as "Sally," but the eminent genealogist Elden Hurst believed Christopher Columbus Sanders, who in fact knew little of his great grandparents, confused the name of his great grandmother and one of his great aunts. Mary's maiden surname of Hamilton is based on solid family tradition and is attested by the ordinances done by Moses Martin Sanders in the 1870s.
The Reverend Moses Sanders married Mary Hamilton about 1768 in Virginia. We know this because census records tell us that their oldest son, Aaron, was born in 1769 and that he was born in Virginia. To find Mary's parents, therefore, we need to establish where Moses and Mary were living in 1768. Before proceeding, though, we need to look at the confusion that has arisen because of another Sanders who married a woman named Mary.
Jacob Saunders of
The woman who married Jacob Saunders had the first name of "Mary."
There was a daughter named Mary Sanders mentioned in the will of Joseph Hamilton of Brunswick County, Virginia on May 19, 1780.
Several of Joseph's children moved to North Carolina and at least one moved to Montgomery County.
One of Jacob Saunders' grandsons married a granddaughter of Joseph Hamilton in 1860.
Today, one can find numerous family trees at Ancestry.com that accept this theory. All of them are based on the four premises above. All are copied from the research efforts of Gretta Saunders and there is no other evidence or documentation about the maiden name of the wife of Jacob Saunders.
I do not believe that the evidence support a conclusion that the wife of Jacob had a maiden name of Hamilton or that she was the daughter of Joseph Hamilton of Brunswick County. Mary, the wife of Jacob, was born about 1760, according to census records, and her first child, Jesse, was born in 1780. The marriage of Mary and Jacob must have taken place in 1779 or earlier, and in that year, Mary and Jacob would have been nineteen years old and probably living with their respective parents.
In 1779 Joseph Hamilton and his wife Anne were living in Brunswick County, Virginia. The nineteen year old Jacob Saunders, on the other hand, was living with his father Isaac Saunders in either Moore(then Cumberland) or Anson (now Montgomery) counties in North Carolina. Either way, he was nearly two hundred miles away from the Hamilton family and we have no evidence that the two families were even aware of each other. It does not make sense that he would travel a long distance to another colony (probably a week or two in colonial times), marry a hitherto unknown to him teenage daughter of a rather well-to-do family, and then trek back to North Carolina with his young bride. It is more logical that he married a local girl in North Carolina, probably the daughter of one of his father's neighbors. The 1850 and 1860 census records confirm that "Old Mary" was born in North Carolina, not Virginia.
Who, then, was the daughter "Mary Sanders" mentioned in the will of Joseph Hamilton of Brunswick County? Her identity is really no big mystery and pretty easy to explain once we abandon the unsupported premise that the wife of Jacob must have been a Hamilton.
We know that the Reverend Moses
Sanders(1742-1817) was living in the Brunswick/Halifax area of Virginia
in the 1760s (per research of legal records by Jim Sanders) and we
have solid documentation his wife was the former Mary Hamilton
that she had a brother named
William. Wiliam Hamilton is also mentioned in the will of his father
Joseph. Based on records I received from Jim Sanders, Mary
as Moses' wife in a South Carolina Deed dated 11 Nov. 1798: "Moses
Sanders of Franklin County Ga..... and his wife Mary." She signed the
and relinquished any dower right to the
property. Moses Sanders also
names Mary as his wife in his 1817 will. Their
marriage probably occurred
Moses Martin Sanders, a
grandson of the Reverend Moses
Sanders, in the ordinances done for the LDS church in the 1880s,
William Hamilton as his great uncle. A William Hamilton
near Aaron and Moses Sanders in Montgomery County
Joseph Hamilton, in his
Brunswick County, Virginia will of 1780
that was proved in 1785, named several children. One was Mary Sanders,
was William Hamilton.
We are never going to find a marriage certificate, of course, but it is far more likely that Mary Hamilton, daughter of Joseph Hamilton of Brunswick County married the Reverend Moses Sanders who was living nearby than that she married another Sanders who lived nearly two hundred miles away. We have solid evidence that the wife of the Reverend Moses was a Hamilton before her marriage; we have no evidence, either in tradition or documentation, that the wife of Jacob Saunders was a Hamilton before their marriage.
Additional material provided by Jim Sanders of Ojai, California, is presented below. Jim is a descendant of Francis Sanders, brother of the Reverend Moses Sanders.
Gary B. Sanders
May 2008, March 2017
reported that Joseph Hamilton of
HAMILTON WILL OF 1780
Transcribed by Jim Sanders April 2008
FHL Film # 0030633 Page 459
name of God
Amen, I Joseph Hambleton of the Parrish of Meherrin in the County of
being in my proper senses calling to mind the uncertain state of this
transitory life and that all must yield unto death when it shall please
call I do make constitute and ordain and declare this my last Will and
Testament I hereby give and bequeath to my loving wife Ann 4 negroes 2
named Ann and Betty one girl named Rashal, one Negro boy named Sterling
life after her death then these three above named negroes to my son
Hambleton, but if my son Walter should die without heir, these said
be divided among all my children, also after the death of my wife, I
the above named negro Betty to my daughter Elizabeth Ezell, also I give
bequeath to my son Walter Hambleton my plantation and 237 acres of land
and 1 negro girl named Charlotte, one bay mare, also I give to my
Elizabeth Ezell 100 acres of land her life, taking of this said tract
on Preston’s line after her death the said land and the negro
Betty to be sold
and all the money to be equally divided among all her children. Also I
bequeath to my son William Hamilton 20 shillings Also I give and
bequeath to my
daughter Ann Upchurch 20 shillings, Also I give and Bequeath to my
shillings also I give
and bequeath to my son Samuel Hambleton twenty. Also I give and
John Hambleton’s heir 20 shillings and do make my wife and my
son Walter my
executors of this my last Will and Testament.
Witness my hand and seal this
day of May in the year of
our lord 1780.
Test. Signed Joseph Hambleton
Benjamin Harrison, Jr.
N.B. I also give and bequeath unto Benjamin Walker one certain tract of land containing 450 acres more or less that the said
Harrison Jr. Patty
been the basis for the reasoning that Mary Hamilton married Jacob
A very simple methodology was
used in making
this decision: Jacob Sanders wife was named Mary and in Joseph
a Mary Saunders is noted as his daughter.
A historic leap of faith was
taken here, perpetuating this belief as
is found adjacent to the Sanders of Barnes Creek in
as the wife of Moses Sanders in a grant deed recorded in 1798 in
Furthermore, in 1877 and 1878, Moses Martin Sanders, son of David who was the son of the Reverend Moses, baptized his family and friends, who had died, prior to the formation of the Mormon Church. This baptismal process is called Vicarious Ordinance or the Endowment for the Dead. On January 31st, 1877, he baptized his grandmother, Mary Hambleton and his grand uncle William Hambleton. He would be Mary Hambletons’ brother.
William, her brother, went to
Moses Martin Sanders, not knowing his great-grandfathers name on either side of his grandmothers or grandfathers family (the Reverend Moses and Mary Hambleton), baptized them as great grandfathers Hambleton and Sanders. (Eldon Hurst research)
Hamilton had at least four sons: Hatton,
Theophilus, John and Isaac…” Jacob and John
Hamilton were witnesses to a 1200
acre purchase by William Hamilton in 1813,
records of the Groves Level Church of
William Hamilton, Mary Hamilton’s brother is an also key component to establishing a theory that might validate Mary Hamilton as the wife of Moses Sanders. We will show that Moses and William Hamilton were closely aligned for more than fifty years.
believe there are two, and maybe more, William Hamiltons in
Nancy Hamilton’s will is recorded in
1754 A William Hamilton is first noted on Lizard Creek. Deed Book 5 page 295.
October 1754 William Hamilton, agent for the King against John Milam. An Alias Capias (Attachment) is awarded against Milam.
William Hamilton buys property
from Edward Carlos.
Book 10 Page 510.
sells a piece of
property in to Peter Reed.
Book 10 Page
1777 The following Website notes
that John Hicks
Captain, Lieutenants Lewis
Hicks and William Hamilton are members of the Revolutionary force of
1792 William Hamilton sells
property to James
Book 15 Page 240 of Deeds.
Indenture made this 4th
day of January 1792, between William Hamilton of the
County of Brunswick & State of Virga.
of the one part and Edmund Webb of the same County & State
aforesaid of the
other part . . . for and in consideration of the sum of eighty two
shillings . . . doth absolutely bargain and sell unto
Edmund Webb one certain tract & parcel of land lying &
being in the County of Brunswick on waters of the Lizard Creek and
bounded by the lands of Daniel
Huff, James Huff, Herbert Haynes and Peter Reed containing by
sixty one acres” Signed
by William Hamilton
and witnessed by James Huff.
Moses Sanders and his son Moses Jr. were in
Moses and William:
1772, Moses Sanders and William Hamilton are both noted in the records
1771-1774, William and Moses are Chain Carriers for William’s
Grant on Barnes
3) Moses is entry #38 and William is entry #39 of the Entry Books of Anson.
4) Moses and William are named, together, in 1774, in Anson Road Orders.
William Hamilton is found in
believe that after David’s death in
names of William Hamilton’s sons, William, Theophilus and
Francis, are also
found in the family of Francis Sanders, Moses brother.
John Hamilton receives a patent for 370
acres on the Nippers Creek.
Adjoining William Tucker, Thomas Eldridge.
Hamilton is noted as a
1760 Joseph Hamilton receives
a patent for 180 acres on Nippers Creek,
an Indenture made
day of February, 1762,
Robert Jones, Jr., Gentleman of North Carolina and the
1763 John Hamilton grants to Benjamin Ezell 100 acres of the 370 acres granted in 1745. Deed Book 7, Page 350.Ezell was married to one of Joseph Hamilton’s Daughter’s. (Joseph’s 1780 Will) http://www.milam.com/frontpg/recordstidbits.htm
We find what we believe is the only mention
of our line of Sanders in
On 26 Feb. 1772 on page 481 of Film #0030665 (order book 11): A notice of attachment to the estate of Moses Saunders was continued until the next court.
page 51 of FHL
film # 0030666, order book 12, 1772-1774, dated 28 July 1772 we find
attachment attained by Thomas Preston, Plaintiff,
against the estate of Moses Saunders is dismissed being agreed by
the parties. “Estate”, as used in
(neighbor of John) was a witness to
Joseph Hamilton’s Will. Randal
sold property to
4) In 1772, Thomas Preston sues Moses Saunders. The mention of Thomas Preston is significant as he is an adjacent neighbor of the Joseph Hamilton’s.
5) We can justify
connection between Moses Sanders and Mary
6) The only
the Sanders line of Moses, Francis and
William Aaron, is the above attachment to the estate of Moses Saunders. Perhaps
Moses was an interloper and was
passing through when he met and married Mary Hamilton. Since he owned
A thorough check of the grant deed index exposed only the Edward Saunders line with the given names of Thomas, Hubbard, James and Joseph. We haven’t made any connection with Edward’s line as of yet.
7) In addition to
the father of Abby Robins who married John Sanders in
Sanders, a son of John Sanders and Abby Robbins and a gandson of the
Moses, wrote a history of his family in 1880.
We have included a paragraph
of that history herein, which provides a
bit of additional evidence of a connection of our line to
and Rueben Robins are listed on the tax List of Surry County, North
1774. In 1785-1790 He is found on the tax lists of
Robins Jr. was taxed on 780 acres in 1785. He is also noted in 1786,
1788 and by 1789 he has 880 acres. He
indexed in Captain Judd’s District, which includes the
Hunting Creek and is
near the “Grassy Knob” where the Reverend Moses
Sanders family lived in the
1778-1790’s. In the 1790 and 1800 census of Montgomery and
following case describes a John Robins and he may be the father of Abby
Sanders. If so, this case strengthens the connection of the line of
Arthur Hamilton and Martha Conyngham of Augusta County, Virginia and their daughter Mary
If one consults family trees on the Internet, one will find hundreds that identity Arthur Hamilton and Mary Conyngham as the parents of the wife of the Reverend Moses Sanders, Mary Hamilton. I do not know when this theory first appeared but it probably goes back several decades even though there is no evidence for it at all. In fact, it is easy to demonstrate that it is incorrect. I assume, like the myth of the Reverend Moses Sanders' being a scion of a family from Downton, England, this theory orginated because someone wanted to claim illustrious ancestors for the Reverend Moses Sanders (among the descendants of Arthur and Martha was a governor of Tennessee).
The family of Arthur and Martha was researched by Margaret Campbell Hamilton Pilcher (1843-1921) in her book Historical Sketches of the Campbell, Pilcher, and Kindred Families, published in 1911. The book was well-researched and based on interviews with elderly family members and orginal records. Mrs. Pilcher was a descendant of Mary Hamilton (1716-1801), daughter of Arthur and Martha Hamilton.
Based on the material in her book, here is a summary of the genealogy of this family:
Arthur Hamilton and Martha Conyngham were from Londonderry in Ulster. They married about 1715 and had two children, Mary 1716-1801), and Arthur (about 1720-about 1797). Arthur died after the birth of the two children and Martha married a second time, to her cousin Walter Conyngham. In 1726 the couple and their two Hamilton children and their young daughter Jane Conyngham emigrated to Virginia, eventually settling in Augusta County.
Mary Hamilton (1716-1801), daughter of Arthur and Martha. married David Campbell, called David "White" Campbell to distinguish him from his distant cousin with a more swarthy complexion of the same name. Their descendants moved to Knox and Wilson counties in Tennessee.
Arthur Hamilton (about 1720-1797), son of Arthur and Martha, married Barbara Campbell. They had eight children. John and Arthur, two of the boys, never married and three of their sisters, whose names are unknown, never married either. All five unmarried children remained on the family estate in Augusta County until they died of old age. William, another of the children, died while on a business trip to Louisiana territory. James, another of the sons, married and had a large family, but his descendants are not known. The other daughter, Martha, married Abraham Goodpasture and their descendants are known.
Jane Conyngham (about 1722-about 1759), daughter of Walter Conyngham and Martha, and a half-sister to Mary and Arthur Hamilton, married David "Black" Campbell, distant cousin of David "White" Campbell who married Jane's half sister, Mary Hamilton.
The Hamiltons of Augusta County, Virginia, do not appear to have any connection to my family, and I have not found any documentation that they are related to the Hamiltons of Brunswick County who did intermarry with the Sanders. Rather, the purpose of this discussion is to establish that Mary Hamilton, of the Augusta County Hamiltons, did not marry a Sanders. In fact, Arthur Hamilton died over twenty years before the wife of the Reverend Moses Sanders was born.
March 29, 2017
The following is from Mrs. Pilcher's book:
genealogy is not the product of an abundance of leisure, but rather the
work accomplished in time taken from the exacting duties of a mother,
and housewife. From an early age I have enjoyed the study of family
history, and have pursued it for the past twenty years, hoping to leave
valuable records, yet it has never seemed to me urgent that my
manuscripts should be published; it is a labor of love freely given for
my three children—Frances Oven, Stuart Carothers, and William
Bowen Campbell Richer. I expected to leave the results of my
investigations to them alone, but have been persuaded to have these
records published, as manyothers desire copies.
Much of my information has been gathered from conversations with my father's mother, Mrs. Catherine Bowen Campbell, who lived in my fathers home, "Campbell," near Lebanon, Tennessee, during the last four years of her life. She died at the age of eighty-three, a woman of rare intelligence and memory. I also gained a vast amount of data from manuscripts and letters of Governor David Campbell, who spentyears in collecting papers in regard to historical facts. These were left to my fathers sister, Miss Margaret H. Campbell, and she gave them to her nephew, Lemuel Bussell Campbell, of Nashville, Tennessee. Other itemsof interest have been taken from the papers of my father, the late Governor William B. Campbell, written during the years 1830 to 1867, which are valuable from both political and historical standpoints. I have added to this collection extracts from general and local histories, periodicals, and special publications, court, town, and church records, authentic family papers and traditions. and information acquired by correspondence with old persons who were related to or connected with the families named in this volume, whose recollection of past events and persons have never been placed upon record. Valuable assistance has been rendered by my husband, James Stuart Pilcher, though he has had little time to devote to matters outside of his profession —the law. These pages will necessarily be dull and of
little interest to those who are not related to or connected with the various families herein mentioned. They contain simply chronological sketches of thesefamilies.
I am indebted to Mr. Charles Campbell, of Ironton, Ohio, for manuscripts in regard to the descendants of Robert and Dugald Campbell, sons of Duncan and Mary McCoy Campbell; also for photographs of some of Robert CampbelPs descendants. Mr. Calvin McClung, of Knoxville, Tennessee, has kindly furnished a sketch of the McClung family of Tennessee, who are also descendants of the above named Duncan and Mary McCoy Campbell.
MARGARET CAMPBELL PILCHER.
NASHVILLE, TENN., August 15, 1910.
Patrick Conyngham was a Colonel commanding a regiment at the battle of the Boyne, under King William of Orange. He married Euphemia Vesse. They had two children that we have on record: James and Martha Conyngham. Martha Conyngham married first Arthur Hamilton and after his death she married her cousin Walter Conyngham, with whom and with her two children, Mary and Arthur Hamilton, she emigrated to America in 1726. At this time her daughter Mary Hamilton was ten years of age in 1726. She had several children by her second husband Walter Conyngham but of these we have no record except of Jane Conyngham who married another David Campbell called "Black David" because of his dark complexion, to distinguish him from his relative of the same name "White" David Campbell who married Mary Hamilton, the half sister of Jane Conyngham. Thus, it will be noted that the half-sisters Mary Hamilton and Jane Conyngham married each a David Hamilton, distant cousins, who were of the same clan in Scotland.
"White David Campbell was a large, stout man with silken yellow hair, fair skin, and blue eyes. He was as remarkable for the eveness of his temper as his wife Mary Hamilton was for the excitability and pride of hers."
Arthur Hamilton, Mary's brother, married and had eight children: John, Arthur, William, James, and Martha; the names of the other three are not recorded.
John and Arthur Hamilton never married but lived to old age with their three sisters who did not marry. They lived on the paternal state and died at very advanced ages.
William Hamilton died while on a business trip to Louisiana.
James Hamilton married and had a large family; no record of his children.
Martha Hamilton, the eldest daughter, married Abraham Goodpasture and they had a large family. Their eldest son married Sarah Lockhart, daughter of William Lockhart and his wife, Mary Campbell.
Historical sketches of the Campbell, Pilcher and kindred families :
including the Bowen, Russell, Owen, Grant, Goodwin, Amis, C [database
on-line]. Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005.
Original data: Pilcher, Margaret Campbell.. Historical sketches of the Campbell, Pilcher and kindred families : including the Bowen, Russell, Owen, Grant, Goodwin, Amis, Carothers, Hope, Taliaferro, and Powell families. Nashville, Tenn.: Press of Marshall & Bruce Co., c1911.